Monday, June 9, 2014

Strawberry Fields

It´s June! Can you believe it?? I remember thinking, ``When World Cup comes around I´ll have 9  months on the mission.`` That seemed so far away, and now it´s here: the streets are decorated, Brazil shirts are being sold on every corner, the emails telling us to stay inside and not cheer for anyone...where has the time gone?? In just three months I´ll almost be at a year :0 And that Gary came home Thursday and Kev comes home in a few weeks. It really feels like yesterday that he left, and now ahhh he´s coming home! So exciting!!
We had a wonderful FHE with the branch this week- helping the members be missionaries! The Reflief Scoeity room was full! We shared a message about missionary work and the power of members in the conversion process. We introduced our ``Sair com as Sisteres`` calendar where they signed up for a day during the week to visit less-active members in their neighborhood and friends or family who might be interested in our message. Then we gave each returned missionary a scenario (a person they would be acting out) and divided them into groups. Each group had to plan a lesson of how they would teach that person (focussing on the specific problem or question the investigator had). We gave them pamphlets, scripture and 15 minutes to plan. They all got really into it- the youth and not-so-youth alike. After, we had each group present. They got extra points for creativity and some were soooo funny- I love Brazilians! Each group truly sought to answer the investigator´s questions and there was such a beautiful spirit- I was so proud! The members have such strong testimonies and really know the douctrine. It was so great to see them get excited about teaching the gospel. And it helped a lot to have them train for when they do visits with us. The calendar is working already! We have had so many references and our days are fullllllllll of lessons- we almost never have time for dinner! It´s wonderful!
On Friday we had such a wonderful lesson with Lana. She is the aunt of a girl we are teaching (our friend from the papelaria). Her husband recently passed away and she has one daughter who is living with Lana´s parents because she has to work full time. It´s a really hard situation and Lana has so much on her shoulders. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation. When we finished (and during) the lesson she had such wonderful question: ``what about those who didn´t choose God´s plan?`` ``How did Christ pay for ALL the sins of the world?`` ``where is my husband now?```. We explained our pre-mortal life, our purpose here and where we are going after. She told us she always thought it was the way we explained it but at the church she was going to they explained it a lot differently. She told us she was always scared to say something different but that now she understands the truth and that it made so much sense to her. I love teaching the Plan of Salvation so much, it´s perfect (of course)!
All in all, this week was really happy. Full of good food, walking, sharing, learning, reading...everything good in one week! Brazil is such a happy place. Actually, what I´ve learned here is that every place is a happy place if you make it so. Each day we decide how the day will be. Lunch might fall through, members might not find you in the praca and leave without calling, you might even get bit by 100000000 misquitos (not that all of that happened this week or anything (it did)) BUT you decide what will be of your days, yor months, your years and your eternity. Do you really want it spend stressed, worried, annoyed, negative and wasted away? I would say obrigada mas nao to that. No, no thank you. Not when there´s so much good. Lunch at the best resturaunt (because lunch fell through), beautiful scriptures, a list of members to visit, investigators who become like family (hemming skirts and inviting us to learn how to make traditional Sao Joao food), crazy people in the praca (``voce e de fora``. ``Sim. Estados Unidos``. ``Onde e isso?``. ``Norte de aqui...bem norte`` oh gosh...), meeting the most diverse group of people and loving them all, watching the streets turn yellow and green-GOOOO BRASILL, Zone Conference this week- such an amazing 8 months with President and Sister Hart and new mission parents coming so soon, a wonderful filha who learns so quickly and loves people so much and doesn´t get embarassed by anything and follows the Spirit, the knowledge that I´ve gained here of my purpose in life, the sun shining each day, like God´s approval shining down upon us, and an asurity that my future is secure, bright and better than anything I can dream of.
I am forever grateful for the new perspective the mission has given me. I never realized how much has been given on my behalf. How could I ever have been stressed or bitter? What gives me the right to act with ingratitude? When all that I have, the very breath I breath is only borrowed; I too shall return unto dust, this mortal body is but a second, temporary estate. Eternity awaits. It hinges on these short years, in God´s time no time at all. How I spend my life is how I will spend my ternity. You reap what you sow. ``If we sow thistles, we don´t really plan to get strwberries. If we sow hate we don´t really anticipate to have an abundance of love. We get back, in kind, that which we sow...and we reap, always in greater quantity. We sow a little thistle and we get a lot of thistle- years and years of it, big bushes and branches of it``. We sow a few small strawberry seeds and a large patch of sweet, shareable berried flourish- enough to share with the neighbors. Enough to plant more strawberries, until you world is a strawberry field forever. (thank you Beatles and Elder Holland- inspiring the nations (for the best talk you´ve never heard of search ``Borne Upon Eagles Wings`` in BYU Speeches by Elder Holland it is POWER)). Until next week amigos!!
-Sister McKenzie

minha filha!

happy family!

my cityyyy

our bridge

we love you! 

our FHE

my favorite quote!

senhor do bonfim

view from the kitchen

i love this lady!

minha filha!

noite de spa

the roadway